Joining a sorority is a rite of passage for many women in college. Among younger white women, membership is on the rise.
Just a generation or two earlier, sororities were often viewed with disdain in some parts of the country. Ivy League universities and women colleges in the Northeast and the South either didn’t recognize sororities or outright banned them from campus. Some called the organizations elitist, others put the groups on par with beauty pageants and other rituals that many at the time considered to be degrading to women.
With the renewed interested in women’s greek letter organizations, comes a new list. This time Town & Country — a publication which has struggled with its own perceptions of elitism — has offered up its list of the most prestigious sororities in America.
There about 90 sororities around the country with different affiliations. The list recognizes 11 such sororities for a unique aspect of their organization.
A version of the story which ran online in Redbook featured only nine sororities which are part of the National Panhellenic Conference — an umbrella organization for 26 traditional sororities, but what appears to be a later version of the story added two historically black sororities to the mix.
The list includes Georgia-born Alpha Delta Pi which was founded in 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon. Known as the Adelphean Society until 1905 the organization was the first secret society for women. The magazine recognized Alpha Delta Pi as the oldest sorority.
Here are the rest:
Biggest sorority: Chi Omega has more than 345,000 initiated members making it the largest sorority in the National Panhellenic Council.
Most Historic sorority: Alpha Kappa Alpha, the historically black sorority founded in 1908 at Howard University, was the first Greek letter sorority founded by African-American college-educated women.
Sorority with the most celebrity alums: Kappa Alpha Theta’s 220,000 members include big names like Tory Burch, Sheryl Crow, the Bush twins, Melinda Gates, Ann Margaret, Cindy McCain and more.
Sorority most devoted to public service: Delta Sigma Theta, the largest greek letter sorority for black women, has built a history on service including participating in the Women’s Suffrage March on Washington just two months after the sorority was founded in 1913.
Sorority with the best house: Phi Mu’s University of Alabama chapter unveiled a three-story, $13 million house in 2016.
Sorority with the most undergraduate chapters: Alpha Omicron Pi has 190 active chapters, more than any other sorority in the country.
Sorority with the coolest symbol: For Sigma Sigma Sigma, a skull and crossbones is more than a fashion trend, it has been part of the initiation badge since 1903.
Sorority with the best charity partnership: Delta Delta Delta has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since 1999.
Sorority with the best leadership program: Kappa Kappa Gamma runs GIRLS Academy — a leadership and self-esteem program for middle-school girls designed to empower young women.
Most philanthropic sorority: Delta Gamma’s motto is “Do Good” and the Delta Gamma foundation provides a number of grants, scholarships and funds four schools founded by the organization for blind or visually-impaired children.